Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hayes Star Brand Bean Soup Mix - Sausage, Beans & Rice

Tonight we are having ribeye steaks from the Angel Food Ministries boxes we got in March, and frankly I don't generally do much with those. Usually I sprinkle just a little bit of Worcestershire sauce on both sides, let 'em come to room temp and then grill them on the outdoor grill. Add a salad, and a starch like some potatoes and we're good to go for dinner.

But, for my AFM fans, I came up with this bean recipe as another way of using those Hayes Star Brand Bean Soup Mix packages that show up fairly regularly in the boxes. My first try with the bean soup mix was to create a soup and that actually did turn out really tasty, but this recipe is my next experiment of what in the world to do with this soup mix! I didn't want to make a soup this time, but rather something that would be thicker, served with rice and kind of mixed together - think like Hoppin' John style. If you want it a bit more soupy, just use extra chicken stock.

I used andouille, which is a very spicy smoked Cajun sausage. Andouille has quite a lot of heat to it, so if you don't want that much kick, you should substitute regular smoked sausage. Personally if I were to use regular smoked sausage, I would bump up the heat just a tad bit with my favorite standby Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning and a tablespoon or so of sliced jalapenos, chopped up. I say sliced, because while fresh are great, sliced refrigerated jalapenos are the kind that I always have on hand. I really like the Mezzetta brand Deli-Sliced Tamed Jalapeno Peppers because they have lots of flavor and a little kick, but aren't overpowering.

I was very pleased with the flavor of this dish, and Hubs loved it too, so it was a winner. Hope you enjoy it too!

Hayes Star Brand Bean Soup Mix
Sausage, Beans & Rice

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1 package Hayes Star Brand Bean Soup Mix
3 slices of bacon, chopped
2 links of smoked andouille sausage, quartered lengthwise and chopped into small pieces
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of dried basil
10 turns of the pepper grinder
2 bay leaves
1 quart of chicken stock
2 pinches of kosher salt

Place the beans in a medium stockpot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1-1/2 hours. Alternatively, you can cover the beans with water plus about another 2 inches and leave to soak overnight. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the stockpot over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Cook until softened. Add the chopped smoked sausage and cook until browned. Add the chopped onion and celery and continue cooking until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Stir in the basil, pepper and bay leaves. Return the beans to the pot. Stir well, add the chicken stock and mix in, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and simmer covered for 45 minutes to an hour. Check the beans to see if they have softened, add salt, adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve over hot rice.
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